i was happy to catch the brunettes at the delancey earlier, since i've been grooving to structure & cosmetics, the new zealand band's third LP, pretty much since it was released. their brand of post-modern pop is particularly appealing, the sugar-coated melodies a delicious antidote to an overabundance of lo-fi rock. drawing much of their inspiration from brill building stars and spector assembly-line groups, the brunettes are sweet and overpoweringly schizophrenic. "her hairagami set," one of the songs in the brunettes' five song set (and an outstanding cut on structure & cosmetics), is probably the most obvious example of this; here, the brunettes abruptly switch from a bouncy piano and angular beat to shimmering vocals and effervescent white noise. "her hairagami set" is perhaps one of the most telling points of departure between jonathan bree and heather mansfield, the brunettes' founders and songwriters, though not the only one. the two often combine their disparate songwriting styles into the same tune, creating the schizophrenic effect that characterizes their music.
without a doubt, "brunettes against bubblegum youth" is the best song on structure & cosmetics, breezy prog-pop that builds from its wind and brass foundation, adding a guitar and chorus part so infectious that it practically dares you not to dance. for their u.s. tour, bree and mansfield have recruited four additional bandmates, all of whom multitasked, like when the bassist did double duty on triangle or the drummer broke out the occasional saxophone riff. one of the brunettes' strongest points is their instrumental diversity; between the six people on stage, there must have been at least eighteen instruments, from the mundane (guitar) to the unique (maracas). one thing that sets the brunettes apart is their inimitable supply of noisemakers, props that many bands would leave in the studio. but the brunettes are clearly devoted to replicating their sound as honestly as possible in a live environment.
you can catch the brunettes at soundfix tomorrow or opening for band of horses @ bowery ballroom as part of a sub pop showcase.
i should also mention that i'm 99% sure daytrotter was at the show, since i saw a guy sketching in the distinctive daytrotter style, and the set was being recorded. so look for that whenever it goes up.
"brunettes against bubblegum youth"